Harlem Chit-Chat 1869

Laying of the Corner-stone of Holy Trinity Church, Harlem.

The corner-stone of Trinity Church, of Harlem, was laid by Bishop Potter, assisted by several of the Episcopal clergyman of this City, yesterday afternoon. The new edifice is to be erected on the corner of One Hundred and Twenty-fifth street and Fifth avenue, for the use of the congregation now worshiping in National Hall, of which Rev. William N. McVickar is the Rector. The church will be of the Romanesque style of architecture, and will seat about 1,000 persons. It will front on Fifth-avenue, cover an area of 100 by 110 feet. There will be only one gallery an end one in the body of the edifice; but a choir and organ gallery will be built on one side of the chancel, which latter is to be polygonal in form. The clear space under the roof is to be open-timbered, the height of the ridge from the floor to be fifty feet. Adjoining the vestry-room of the church there is to be a lecture-room capable of seating 500 persons. This, with its connections, will be used for Sunday school purposes, and will accommodate about 800 children. The material of which the edifice is to be constructed is white brick, made in Newark, N.J.; the dressings, sills, lintels, coping, &c., to be of Berea stone, quarried in Ohio. The front will have six turrets, and on the rear end, on One Hundred and Twenty-fifth-street, there will be a campanile running up to the height of 175 feet. In the centre of the front gable there is to be a wheel-window of Ohio stone, immediately over the main entrance. The total cost of the building will be about $75,000. It is intended to have it ready for use in November next, as the work will be pushed steadily through to completion. The architect is Mr. John Welch, of Brooklyn.

There was a very large attendance at the services yesterday. At 4:15 o'clock procession of the wardens and vestrymen of the congregation, Bishop Potter, Rev. Dr. S.H. Tyng, Rev. Messrs. McVickar, Ray, of Grace Chapel, Harlem, Rev. Professor Johnson, of the Episcopal Seminary, and other clergymen, moved from the pastoral residence to the site of the new church, reciting the 122d Psalm. The Bishop recited the prayers prescribed in the Episcopal ritual for services of this character, and laid the cornerstone. This ceremony being ended, the Bishop congratulated the assembled congregation on the inauguration of the good work they had undertaken, and introduced Rev. Dr. S.H. Tyng.

Dr. Tyng, after paying a high complement to the Bishop for the Zeal he had ever displayed in furthering the cause of the Church, and extending its influence in this diocese, referred to the work now undertaken as another evidence of his labors, his fostering, care and the beneficial results of his Episcopal Government. The location selected for the new church was, he said, the finest in the whole city, and its erection here would awaken a deep interest in the cause of religion, and be made an instrument of great good to future generations. This spot was destined to be, twenty years hence, the centre of the wealth, intelligence and refinement of this metropolis, and he hoped that the men who had undertaken by the erection of this edifice to carry out the principles of the Church, would prove themselves to be in every way worthy of their trust.

The "Gloria in Excelsis" was then sung by the assembled congregation, and the Bishop closed the services with the Benediction.

The box deposited in the corner-stone contained a list of the wardens and vestrymen of the church; copy of a sermon preached in February last by the Rector; a programme of the services in the laying of the stone; copies of the Protestant Churchman, the New York Times, and other City papers; by-laws of the Harlem Bank and Harlem Dispensary; Manual of the Board of School Trustees of the Twelfth Ward; silver and nickel coins and specimens of postal-currency, and a $1 greenback.(1)

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The Dutch Settlers on Manhattan Island-Address by Hon.J.W. Beckman.

A special meeting of the St. Nicholas Society was held last evening at the hall of the Historical Society, corner of Second-avenue and Eleventh-street, for the purpose of listening to an address by the President, Hon. James W. Beekman. The chair was occupied by the First Vice-President, Mr. Benjamin II. Field, who introduced the speaker of the evening with a few appropriate remarks. The address of Mr. Beekman was a carefully-prepared, patriotic and instructive review of the historical position of Holland, her achievements in ancient times, her influence upon the civilization of the world, and especially her influence in molding the character of the present inhabitants of the United States. The original composition of the Dutch nation was first briefly treated of, and next the founding of the Dutch colonies in this country, and especially the Island of Manhattan, which the speaker described as containing in 1628 the two settlements, New-Amsterdam and Harlem, separated by a wilderness, infested with Indians and even wolves for as late as 1685 a proclamation is on record granting the petition of the inhabitants to hunt and kill the wolves found on the island, New York was then a small trading station, like those established in more recent times by the Hudson Bay Company. In 1673 it contained 300 houses and 3,000 souls. In 1675 the total wealth of New York was $226,000 50, that in less than two hundred years it had increased four hundred fold in population, and three thousand fold in wealth. A record of the date of 1679 was referred to, which detailed the experience of two pioneers of a religious sect then budding in Holland, who landed at Manhattan on Saturday, Sept. 23, and were struck with the beauty and variety of the fruits. They essayed the journey to Harlem, than an undertaking occupying three hours of time and some little danger, and passing up Broadway, then lined with negro huts, they left the town. On their return they found themselves in trouble on account of their religious tenets, and were debarred from trading with the citizens, or even traveling without permission from the Governor.

The infant colonies of the New World had been founded by the Dutch and transferred to English control, as an incident of European politics, before they were half a century old; but they were soon made independent of England by their own manhood, and were now, the speaker claimed, exponents of the energy and industry and education brought here by the early colonists, who were mainly from Holland and the eastern shires of England, which were in large part populated by Dutch immigration.

The remainder of the paper included a review of the Pre-Columbian discoveries of Scandinavian explorers, and cited discoveries in Iceland of tombstones dated 1135, and of records of visits by north men to a point called by them as Finland, and now proven to be identical with the shores of Narragansett Bay. The speaker's peroration was an eloquent tribute to the early efforts of the Dutch in the introduction of popular education and the effects of such efforts as exhibited now in every branch of industrial and inventive art.

The address was received with marked pleasure by the large audience assembled, and at its close a vote of thanks to Mr. Beekman was passed unanimously, and the address ordered to be printed for distribution among the members and for record i n the archives of the Saint Nicholas Society.(2)

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The Harlem-Newark Homicide Case

Coroner Schirmer proceeded yesterday to take some action in the case of Hugh Kelly, the man who died in Newark a day or two ago, from the effects of injuries sustained through an assault committed upon him in Harlem, near One Hundred and Thirteenth street, on the 2d ult. As the Coroner ascertained that Coroner Chase, of Newark, had taken the necessary steps to secure the attendance of the witnesses, he dropped the case entirely. A brother of the deceased applied yesterday to Dr. Harris, of the Health Board, for a permit for burial, which was refused until a proper certificate had been given by the Coroner holding the inquest.(3)

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Third Anniversary of the Harlem Catholic Association

The Harlem Catholic Association celebrated their third anniversary at Sultzer's East River Park yesterday afternoon. The members of the society, numbering about seventy-five, and accompanied by their female friends, devoted themselves to terpsichorean amusements, and gaily treaded the lively measures played by Grafulla's String Band. There was a good attendance, and everything went very pleasantly. The object of the Society is to form a club and build a hall and reading-room for the benefit of the Catholic young men of this district, whereby a taste for literature and the graver questions of life may be cultivated.(4)

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The New Harlem Bridge

The work on the Harlem Bridge has at last been nearly brought to a close. The mason work was completed on Friday, and yesterday the new, elegant lamps were placed in position on the massive and ornamental posts, fourteen in number, erected for them. The approach to the bridge on each side of the river is lighted by four lamps, two on each side, and near the centre of each stationary span there is one lamp. These have each a cluster of four fine burners. The lamp frames are about 4 1/2 feet high, and are fitted at the sides and top with French plate glass beveled and polished at the edges. The side panes are eighteen inches deep. The swing span or draw is lighted by two lamps of the same size, each having two burners and reflectors, two sides of the sloping tops are of blood-red stained glass, so that when the draw is opened the red lights there displayed toward the Third-avenue and Boston Road approaches, serve as signals of danger. It will be thus perceived that the bridge will, from this time, be lighted by fifty-four burners. For the supply of gas for the swing or draw span a tank has been constructed beneath the roadway, to hold sufficient gas for twenty-four hours consumption, so that when the draw is turned for the passage of vessels, no interruption is occasioned to the lights. The gas-tank is filled from the main pipe, which feeds the other lamps by a brief application of a rubber pipe between the main pipe and the one leading to the tank. the only work now to be done, is the erection of some fifty or sixty feet of iron railing on the Westchester side, and affixing a few brackets to some of the tubular pieces, which will probably be deferred until warmer weather. (5)

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Website: The History Box.com
Article Name: Harlem Chit-Chat 1869
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


(1) The New York Times May 7, 1869; (2) December 5, 1869; (3) The New York Times June 19, 1869; (4) The New York Times May 26, 1869; (5) The New York Times  January 17, 1869;
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